GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-05 > 1147841312
Subject: Re: [DNA] Help Please - Irish Surnames
Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 00:48:32 EDT
For what it's worth -
The earliest history of the Fitzgeralds I've seen knows nothing of Nesta or
any ancestors prior to Gerald, justiciary of Ireland, d. 1205. This comes
from a tract entitled "Burkes, Butlers and Fitzgeralds", printed by the Irish
Texts Society, and written by Torna mac Torna O'Mulconry sometime in the 17th
The dating of this tract is somewhat tenuous.
But O'Donovan himself says of Keating's History of Ireland:— This work,
though much abused by modern writers, on account of some fables which the author
has inserted, is, nevertheless, of great authority, and has been drawn from
the most genuine sources of Irish history, some of which have been since lost.
... The most valuable copy of it ... is now preserved in the Library of
Trinity College, Dublin (H. 5. 26.). It is in the handwriting of John, son of
Torna O'Mulconry, of the Ardchoill family, in the county of Clare, a most
profound Irish scholar, and a contemporary of Keating.’’
Torna Mac Torna O'Mulconry would seem to be a brother of the John mentioned
above. Geoffrey Keeating was born ca. 1569, and died ca. 1644.
The O Clery Book of Genealogies, written ca. 1635 by Cu Choigcriche O
Cleirigh, one of the Four Masters, also has a similar but long and untranslated
section on the Fitzgeralds. It too begins with a Muiris MicGerailt (Maurice fitz
Gerald). There is no mention in the Irish text that I can see of any
ancestors prior to Gerald. No Nesta either.
The earliest mention of any Normans in Ireland is under the year 1170 (Four
Robert Fitz Stephen and Richard, son of Gilbert, i.e. Earl Strongbow, came
from England into Ireland with a numerous force, and many knights and archers,
in the army of Mac Murchadha, to contest Leinster for him, and to disturb
the Irish of Ireland in general; and Mac Murchadha gave his daughter to the
Earl Strongbow for coming into his army. They took Loch Garman, and entered
Port-Lairge by force; and they took Gillemaire, the officer of the fortress, and
Ua Faelain, lord of the Deisi, and his son, and they killed seven hundred
In 1224 we find the first mention of a Fitzgerald in the annals:
"A monastery was erected by Maurice Fitzgerald, from whom the Fitzgeralds of
Kildare and Desmond are descended, at Youghal, in the diocese of Cloyne, in
Munster, for Franciscan friary."
From the Fitzgerald tract:
2. Maurice f. Gerald f. Maurice f. Gerald, founder of the 'poor
monastery' of Youghal, a man that never denied nor ever refused the
petition of any, and that in the end of his age and time was sanctified,
died after victory over the Devil and the world. The time which at his
death the Lord had completed, was years 1207.
Something appears to be a little cockeyed in these passages. There may have
been some confusion in the genealogies over the early portions of the
Fitzgerald line in Ireland.
There is an earlier reference in the Annals of Inishfallen.
Item. Gerald, son of Maurice, died in the above year.
The same entry is duplicated in 1201.
Gerald, son of Maurice, died this year.
My only comment would be that the tale of the Fitzgeralds seems to have
expanded considerably over the centuries. Nature abhors a vacuum and so it
seems do some genealogists.